Honours Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership (Fast-Track) is a two-year program designed for those with an Early Childhood Education diploma wishing to pursue a degree in early childhood leadership. This program will prepare you to become a progressive leader in this complex and evolving sector.

Female Early Childhood Education student poses in classroom holding pen and notebook.


Program name
Honours Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership
Experiential learning
Field Placement
2 years (4 semesters)
Starting month
Honours Bachelor's Degree
Method of study

Year of Study

Select a year to view.

Compare Programs


Program Availability

Domestic students
Sept. 2020 Open
Jan. 2021 N/A
May 2021 N/A
International students
Sept. 2020 Open
Jan. 2021 N/A
May 2021 N/A

Full Description

Honours Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership (Fast-Track) is a two-year program suitable for those with an Early Childhood Education diploma wishing to pursue a degree in early childhood leadership. This program will prepare you to become a progressive leader in this complex and evolving sector.

We believe that to be a successful leader in this sector, you need to have a deep understanding of both human development and teaching & learning. We’ll guide you through a comprehensive look at each subject as it pertains to early childhood education and practice.


As human development plays an ongoing and integral role in our lives, and in particular in a child’s early years, we will expose you to this important topic from a variety of perspectives including:

  • developmental psychology
  • population health
  • neurobiology
  • sociology
  • anthropology


You’ll also study teaching and learning through an early childhood lens. This will encompass a thorough overview of curriculum planning and design as this forms the foundation of early childhood leadership.

Prior to completing your degree, you’ll have the opportunity to conduct research that will ultimately support your final thesis.

Female student playing with a child

Part Time Study Options

The program arrangements and course content are tailored to meet the special interests, talents and demanding lives of early childhood professionals.

Full-time and part-time options are possible.

If students require a more flexible schedule, they can enrol on a part-time basis. Note that part-time students are still required to complete all third- and fourth-year courses as they are a mandatory part of the program. If students opt for the part-time option, they should be aware that while most courses can be done part-time, the 14-week internship must be completed on a full-time basis.

Each participant is assigned a faculty supervisor who will also supervise the independent study in Year 4. The internship and research initiatives will be customized to match the professional goals of each participant.

For more information visit the Part-Time Early Childhood programs page.

Experiential Learning

Field Placement

Your Field Study options

To support student learning outcomes and ensure you have access to facilities that reflect the best practices that we consider essential, we own and operate 12 child care centres that are located across the Greater Toronto Area. These lab schools expose you to the kinds of environments where you will eventually work and provide valuable services to the families and communities that they serve.

Field placement is offered in each year of the program with the longest being a 14-week full-time internship that takes place between Semesters 6 and 7. This internship may be local, elsewhere in Canada or in an international setting.

While on placement, students are expected to demonstrate their learning through exemplifying the leadership skills they have been taught in class.

Program Standards and Learning Outcomes

The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to:

  1. Analyze the interacting social and biological forces that collectively shape early brain development and set the stage for lifelong learning, behaviour and health.
  2. Respect families’ central role in child-rearing and early learning and the impact of family structures, community support systems, culture and socio-economic status on parenting.
  3. Lead the design and implementation of inclusive, effective curricula for young children, based upon a critical analysis of historical perspectives, observation, current research, and understandings of early human development.
  4. Develop inclusive early intervention programs that respond to children with identified special needs.
  5. Evaluate early childhood programs, engaging stakeholders in the process and addressing diverse needs of young children and families.
  6. Acquire self-knowledge, critical thinking skills and professional habits of mind essential to the practice and leadership of early childhood education.
  7. Apply research skills, including assessment of the research process, formulation of research questions, and collection and interpretation of data, in a variety of research projects.
  8. Establish responsive and reciprocal relationships with children, families, colleagues and other stakeholders.
  9. Perform responsibilities in a manner consistent with ethical and professional codes of conduct; in compliance with legislative and legal requirements; and, within the defined scope of practice limitations.
  10. Advocate on behalf of children, families, colleagues and the broader community, promoting the principles of quality in early childhood programs.
  11. Apply the principles of human resources, financial and facilities management to the operations of an early childhood program.
  12. Collaborate with early childhood educators and other professionals in multi-disciplinary or cross-sectoral environments and across diverse domains of practice.
  13. Communicate in a professional manner in all verbal, non-verbal and written mediums.

Required Courses


semester courses
CodeCourse name
ECL3101Quality Assurance for Early Childhood Programs
ECL3102Leadership in Learning Organizations
ECL3103Leadership in a Technological World
Liberal Arts Electives (choose two)


semester courses
CodeCourse name
ECL3201Human Development: Current Topics
ECL3202Building Healthy Communities: Advocacy and Leadership
ECL3205Internship Seminar
ECL4102Curriculum Leadership in Early Learning and Care
ECL4103Managing Projects as an Early Childhood Leader
Liberal Arts Elective


Third-year internship is a 14-week work experience in an early childhood program, a related child and family service, or a relevant government department. Internship may be local, elsewhere in Canada or in an international setting.


semester courses
CodeCourse name
ECL3203Early Childhood Program and System Delivery
ECL4111Research in Early Childhood Studies
ECL4105Field Seminar 3
ECL4106Field Practicum 3
Liberal Arts Electives (choose two)


semester courses
CodeCourse name
ECL4211Current Issues – Leadership for Quality (independent studies)
LHUM1215Social Policy in Canada
Liberal Arts Elective

Course revisions are currently taking place. Course offerings may change without notice.

Detailed course outlines

General Education Electives

Career Options

The goal of the Honours Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership program is to prepare early childhood professionals with program leadership knowledge and skills.

Graduates of this degree program will have the knowledge and practice base to influence pedagogy and curriculum. They will be prepared to move into supervisory, director and curriculum leadership positions in a full range of early childhood programs as their careers unfold or as they pursue further study.

Your Career

This program prepares graduates for positions as Registered Early Childhood Educators, working in partnership with certified teachers in the Full-Day Early Learning programs that are replacing junior and senior kindergarten.

Graduates will be prepared to guide and lead curriculum and pedagogy in a variety of Ontario’s early childhood settings such as:

  • child care centres
  • family drop-in programs
  • early intervention services
  • family support programs

Emerging Best Start Child and Family Centres will be integrated with existing early childhood programs and graduates will be well positioned to assume leadership positions within these centres.

Future Study Options

Previous graduates who wished to pursue further education have successfully gained admission to master's degree programs and/or the faculty of education at notable universities.

Ryerson University offers several post-graduate study opportunities for graduates of the Honours Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership degree program. View the complete list of relevant post-graduate study opportunities offered by Ryerson.


$8,672.00* † ‡ ^

Additional Cost

*Amounts listed are the total of tuition, materials, student service and ancillary fees for the first two semesters of programs starting in Fall 2019. Fees are subject to change for programs starting in Fall 2020 and at later dates.

‡ Students will be required to purchase books and other course materials. Internship cost is in addition to fees.

† Internship cost is in addition to fees

^ All courses in the bridging program for the degree, including the lower level Liberal Arts electives, have an additional cost.

International students: Visit the International Fees and Related Costs page for more information.

Financial Assistance

This program is approved for OSAP funding, provided the applicant meets OSAP eligibility criteria.

Admission Requirements

  • Early Childhood Education (ECE) diploma with a minimum program GPA of 2.5; OR Early Childhood Education (ECE) diploma with a minimum 3 years related work experience in ECE (resume and reference letters required)
  • Completion of three (3) George Brown College Continuing Education bridge courses that must be completed by mid-August with a minimum grade of B- (B minus) (*see bridging details further below)
  • A Liberal Studies course must also be completed prior to completing Year 3 of the program (*)
  • Information session – Other arrangements will be made for applicants who live outside the Greater Toronto Area and/or are unable to attend the information session.

NOTE: Information sessions are by appointment only and invitations are sent to students who have applied to a program in our School of Early Childhood.

English Language Proficiency:

  • George Brown College ESL Level 9; TOEFL 84 overall and 21 in each skill band (Online); IELTS 6.5 overall and 6.0 in each skill band; MELAB 85; CAEL overall 70 (writing 60)

Please visit georgebrown.ca/englishproficiency for more details.

Course Exemptions

College or university credits may qualify you for course exemptions. Please visit georgebrown.ca/transferguide for more information.

International (Visa) Students

Visit the International Admissions page for more information.

Apply to

Domestic students should apply through Ontario Colleges

Special Requirements

Field placement is a mandatory and complex component of the program. Should accommodation issues arise, an Accessible Learning Consultant may be called upon to assist the applicant in determining whether she/he can meet the requirements necessary for safe caregiving for young children.

In compliance with requests from our student placement partners and requirements from Public Health and Ontario legislation, all students in this program must have completed the following prior to beginning field placement:

  • Standard First Aid with CPR level C course
  • Police Vulnerable Sector Check
  • Medical Clearance

Students who are unable to provide completed field clearance documents may be unable to complete their field placement and, therefore, be unable to complete the program.

For more information on the ECE Field Placement requirements, please email ece@georgebrown.ca


*From Admission Requirements above


The third-year entry to the ECL program allows working professionals to take part in a degree program, while building intellectual and social connections with a diverse and stimulating cohort of student colleagues and with faculty through face-to-face and online supports. This program offers those with an ECE diploma an opportunity to pursue a degree in the field.

The program only starts in September, and three Continuing Education 'Bridge' courses must be successfully completed with a minimum grade point average of 2.5.

To be considered for the Early Childhood Leadership (Fast-Track) program, applicants must successfully complete 3 bridge courses (below) with a minimum grade required by mid-August

    • ECL1001 Evidence-based Practice in Early Childhood Programs
    • ECL1002 Introduction to Early Childhood Leadership
    • ECL1003 Applied Research Method
    • ECL1205 Composition & Rhetoric (Mandated Elective) Successfully complete this bridge elective prior to completion of Year 3 of the program

Applicants accepted into the program will be assigned a faculty advisor. Each participant is assigned a faculty supervisor who will also supervise the independent study in Year 4.

George Brown has been granted a consent by the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development to offer this applied degree for a 7–year term starting August 29, 2017. In conformity with the Minister’s criteria and requirements, George Brown will submit an application for the renewal of the consent for this program 12 months prior to the expiration of the consent. George Brown will ensure that all students admitted to this program will have the opportunity to complete the program within a reasonable time frame.

Success Stories

"I have come out of my shell and realized that ECEs have a lot more to offer than society thinks. Being in the program helped me realize that there are so many different pathways for ECEs. I am working in a very unique centre which provides women with substance use/mental issues health support. I do not think I would be where I am today without the knowledge and confidence I gained being in the program."

Tasha Palmer (Graduate 2013, Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership; Graduate 2011, Early Childhood Education) Jean Tweed Centre

“Through the Toys or Tools project, our team of current and former students have gained our first crucial experiences in academic projects. We developed critical thinking skills and sharpened our ability to communicate effectively through written and verbal means.”

Click here to learn more about the Toys or Tools applied research project.

Emma Mogyorodi (Graduate 2017, Honours Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership)

“Being part of the Toys or Tools project enabled our team to develop many practical research skills, such as collecting and coding data, conducting interviews, and developing strategies to overcome challenges. These experiences have had a tremendous impact on our confidence, growth, and success not only in relation to this project, but also in our continued academic and professional pursuits.”

Click here to learn more about the Toys or Tools applied research project.

Nicola Maguire (Graduate, 2016, Honours Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership)

Contact Us

School of Early Childhood

Phone: 416-415-5000, ext. 2310

Email: ece@georgebrown.ca

Our office hours are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

For more information about George Brown College, you may also call the Contact Centre at 416-415-2000 (TTY 1-877-515-5559) or long distance 1-800-265-2002.

People who viewed this program also viewed:

    Looking for more?

    George Brown College is continually striving to improve its programs and their delivery. The information contained in this calendar is subject to change without notice. It should not be viewed as a representation, offer or warranty. Students are responsible for verifying George Brown College admission, graduation, and fee requirements as well as any requirements of outside institutions, industry associations, or other bodies that may award additional designations concurrently with, or after completion of, a George Brown College program.